“You’re Beautiful”

Him: God you’re beautiful

Me: *smile* I know

That was NOT the answer I would have given him years ago; that was not the answer I’ve given anybody else before him. My response was not just one triggered by a defense mechanism designed to shut people up like he probably assumed then, I really knew I was beautiful before he actually told me, not just because I saw it in how he looked at me, but because it was something he had taught me about myself.

Being the first of my parents’ three daughters, my dad raised me to be more like the son he never had. Most of the values I was taught were originally “masculine” (at least from his point of view), but he tried to put them in a rather feminine mold because he knew someday I’d have to be the weaker sex if I am to marry a man in this society (a fact he never bothered explaining to me until he saw how I insisted on being treated like an equal by my ex-husband).

I walked as fast as guys did, I dressed in jeans and sneakers most of the time, I was even brought up with more guys my age than girls, I had puzzles and “boyish” toys rather than Barbie’s, I actually played with my male play mates and their mock screw drivers and mechanics kit. Very little attention was brought to me about my being a girl or whatever that entailed in our society; my hair was cut short until my dad started worrying I’d believe I’m a boy, but even then my mom would strictly braid it leaving none of it covering my face, like other girls my age had it.

My mom, well, she made my dad’s job so much easier having adopted the hippie bohemian look all her life; she never really spent time attending to her looks and she totally relied on her God given beauty and was blessed by a husband who somehow seemed to see it and appreciate it under her thick layers of carelessness. All my life I watched my late nana and her own sisters criticizing her lack of care for her appearance. Braiding my hair, I always heard her talking beneath her breath about how shallow it was to spend that much time to look beautiful and she’d justify it by making up fictional reasons about it.

Bottom line, I didn’t grow up like the typical girl people usually assume I am until I start breaking down all their assumptions. Being pretty or looking cute was not something I was taught, and it was not something of any kind of meaning or value to me to compete for.

I was just me, I cared about what I said and what I did, not how I looked. Well, I did care about matching colors and styles, I had the genes for it being the official heir of my grandmother’s genes. Before you start thinking it was all that great, it wasn’t; one of the reasons I married my ex was probably because he was the first guy who pointed out the obvious, I was a girl, a beautiful one, who is also smart and funny, but not full of herself; he made me feel special and I liked it.

But then with the divorce, all its social stigma and all the drama from which everybody warned me, I just fended off all those compliments and never took them seriously or gave them any considerable weight. Again, being brought up the way I was, helped deprive meaning from every remark on my looks, my brains, my humor, and of course my most recent endurance of hardships. I didn’t need those compliments and hearing them did not fulfill any yearnings for being recognized like that. I always smiled calmly and thanked people for complimenting my looks, said I had my late nana’s wits and endurance, and attributed my humor to my dad’s side of the family. Nothing of it was mine; I was just the holder of qualities that were passed on to me, made me feel blessed more than special… actually, it didn’t make me feel anything.  I just was, nothing was special about it, and anyone pointing out otherwise was just overdoing all those clichés men do to win women, end of story.

And then he was. He was my best friend when I needed a male friend the most. It felt like I grew up with him; he was familiar and somehow safe. He was observant, smart, and oh so subtle; moreover, he also shared my interests and fed them. He became my best friend, he noticed my repulsion from men’s silly approaches, and probably figured out he’d lose me if he starts complimenting me, and he needed my friendship probably as much as I needed his.

He just was, and I just was… and it was the best thing I ever had.

And without doing it on purpose, he told me the most beautiful things I’ve ever been told without making them sound like the boring clichés, but rather like an overdue fact. I’d be complaining about a photo that was taken of me that made my face look too cheeky, and he’d reply so casually that I had nothing to complain about having such clear skin; natural blush and pimple free face, how dare I complain!!! Every remark about my qualities was made within a context that made it feel more like a fact rather than a compliment, it just felt more credible.

I got to know myself with him, and I got to love myself with him. I got to see what other people saw that I took for granted without really appreciating it or even really acknowledging it existed or had value. I started believing I was beautiful, I started acknowledging that my brains were not something everybody had, or my intellect, or my taste, all the things that brought us together started from a strong mental bond that developed later into an even stronger emotional one.

So when he first told me how beautiful I was the way men tell the women they love, I knew it, I believed it because for years he has been teaching me all those things about myself that I never learned in my years before him.

Him: *teasing* you can try saying “thank you” instead of “I know”, don’t be too full of yourself..

Me: *smiling* but you like this answer better, and you know it…


 I don’t like it anymore when men tell me I’m beautiful. I mean of course it is flattering and all, but it is not as fulfilling as people expect it to be when they say it; if anything, it just reminds me of him and makes me miss him. They say it to win me over, to impress me, to give me the attention they think I long for, to even just express it… whatever the reasons, they say it too “bluntly”, it doesn’t hold that kind of special meaning to me. I liked how subtle it was with him, I liked how I read it in his almond brown eyes first, and how I’d see his lips curling as he starts saying it and then pauses to reconsider, and then lets it out in the least words possible.

I don’t like being told I’m beautiful by anyone but him, because it only had meaning with him.




~ by insomniac on August 31, 2012.

2 Responses to ““You’re Beautiful””

  1. “He just was, and I just was…and it was the best thing I ever had”. Brilliant :) nicely written

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: